07. Naina | Ivory

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

BACK TO THE PRESENT DAY… Three years had passed since that day, that horrible day. When her Paapu had been so horribly removed from her life. “Ice cream?” Asked a voice. Absently, Naina shook her head. “What, my Princess has still not forgiven me?” The voice insisted. Princess? That was a name she had not…


BACK TO THE PRESENT DAY…


Three years had passed since that day, that horrible day. When her Paapu had been so horribly removed from her life.

“Ice cream?” Asked a voice.

Absently, Naina shook her head.

“What, my Princess has still not forgiven me?” The voice insisted.

Princess? That was a name she had not heard in years!

“Paapu!” She spun around to face the man.

He smiled. He was on his knees on the side of the road. A bouquet of flowers in his hands. “I’m sorry. So sorry.” He said.

She flew into his arms and hugged him. “Paapu! You are back! I missed you so much!” She started to cry and kissed him on his cheeks.

Vijesh got up and they walked hand in hand to their favourite ice-cream spot a few blocks away. As he got his princess seated, Vijesh ordered.

“A Dark Coffee and a Cassata.” He said.

“You haven’t forgotten!” She cried happily.

They sat at the ice cream parlour for over an hour talking and catching up.

“So, you’re still single. Mmmm.” Naina giggled.

“That I am. Do you have a good girl for me?” He winked.

“Am I not a girl?” She laughed.

“Come on. Be serious.” he scolded her.

“Are you still interested in my mother?”

Vijesh grew silent. Then he shook his head.

“I have moved on.”

“Moved on?”

“Yeah. When you love someone as much as I did, and when they throw you out of their life the way she did…”

“Oh my God!” Naina cried. “Are you alright?”

“Oh, I am. Now.” Vijesh said, wiping away a tear that attempted to roll down from his eyes. “But it took me a long time to recover. I don’t want to think about her again.”

“What about us, then?” She asked. “Will I never get to see you again?”

“I have nothing against you.” He ruffled her wavy hair and looked at her lovingly. “You will always be my princess. For ever.”

She got off the stool and hugged him. “And you’ll always be my Paapu!”

“Give me a minute, I need to fetch something from the car.”

She nodded.

Vijesh blew her a kiss and stepped out.

The road in front of the ice cream parlour was not much used by vehicles. People walked this way. There was no traffic when Vijesh started to cross the road. He was more than half-way across, when jumping down from the divider, the car keys slipped out of his hand and fell onto the tarmac. Whistling, Vijesh bent down to pick it up.

WHAM!

The next second, he felt himself fly across the sky. He tried to scream, but nothing exited his mouth. He felt his throat clog up with his own blood. He fell on the bottom step of the ice cream parlour that he had stepped off just moments ago.

Naina who had been obliviously texting a close friend about her happy chance meeting with Vijesh heard the crash of something falling and looked up.

Several things happened quickly.

“Paapu!” She cried, recognizing it was Vijesh that had fallen. She rushed out of the door.

Across the road, a car came to a screeching halt. Under the force of the brakes, the car skidded away for a few more feet before coming to a stop. Just as the vehicle stopped, Spruti jumped and ran across the road toward the person she had hit.

Moments ago, Spruti had been cruising along the road, but absently talking to a colleague from work on her phone. The road had looked completely empty when she started driving down on it. Then just a split-second before she hit him, she saw a man jump off the divider and bend down, completely oblivious to her car speeding down. She had slammed on the brakes, but it had been too late.

When Spruti reached the scene at the base of the parlour, she recognized that Naina was bent over a man, and she was weeping inconsolably. There was a giant pool of blood around them. She wondered who it was that Naina felt so much sorrow for. Was it a boyfriend? She had never discussed any boys with her as being so close to her.

Then she saw his face.

Vijesh!

For a brief second in Time, she froze in place. Her fingers flew to her mouth. “Oh my God! What have I done!” She cried.

Mumma! You killed him mumma!” Naina shrieked seeing her mother approach. “You killed him… You killed…” She fainted.

Spruti felt for Vijesh’s pulse. It was still there, but very weak. They picked up Vijesh and rushed him to the hospital.

“He has lost a lot of blood. But he will recover.” The doctor declared.

Naina sat next to Vijesh’s bed in the ICU while Spruti sat outside in the waiting area. She leaned her head back on the wall behind her and sobbed.

What have I done! What have I done! Vijesh…


Spruti begged Vijesh to let her bring him back to her home and take care of him while he recovered. But he refused.

“I cannot risk being poisoned by you.” He had said with a heavy heart.

She apologized to him a million times. A billion times. She assured him that she had not hit him on purpose. But he would not listen. He did not accept any food or drink that Spruti brought him.

So, Naina tended to him. He trusted her. With his life.

Some days after the doctors declared him fit to leave, he left the hospital and disappeared. Spruti tried asking Naina where he went, but she would not say.

“Oh leave it mumma. He doesn’t want to see you anyway.” She had said.


“What do you think?” The counsellor asked her patient as she scribbled notes into her diary. “Do you think it was on purpose? Or was it an accident?”

“I don’t know what to believe.” Naina said sadly.

“Do you doubt your mother? That she would have planned all this?”

Naina shook her head. “Not really. But she never really wanted a man back in her life. She pushed everyone that came close to her away.”

“But she had male friends, didn’t she?”

Naina nodded. “I never really understood that.”

“How so?” The counsellor probed.

“Why does a person need so many different people in their lives? One to chat casually, one to talk to when in trouble, one to confide in, one to …” She sighed. “Why not have that one single person who fulfils all those needs? Is that not why you get married? So that you are all those things for each other?”

“Perhaps…” The wiser lady smiled. “Perhaps your mother is not as mature as you are. I am afraid our time for today is up.”

Naina bid her psychiatrist good bye and left the doctor’s room.

Shortly after the accident, Naina had filed a complaint against her mother at the local police station. She had alleged that her mother had tried to kill Vijesh because she had grown jealous of the bond between Vijesh and herself. It was only through a lot of lobbying by Vijesh himself that the matter had been resolved. But there had been a condition. The judge had ruled that Naina go through at least a year of psychiatric therapy and resolve her internal struggle.

Almost a year exactly to the date, Naina managed to secure her psychiatrist’s approval to discontinue her court-mandated sessions. She liked the doctor and promised to stay in touch.


“I’m moving to London.” She announced to Spruti one night as they were having dinner.

“London?” Spruti stopped her hand in mid air.

“For my studies.”

“But beta, we cannot afford it.”

“I managed to score a scholarship.” She said quietly.

“What! When did you apply? What are you planning to study? What is going on!” Spruti asked. She suddenly felt left out of her daughter’s life.

“I have been planning and preparing for it for the past four years.”

“Four years.”

“Yes, mumma. Do you know how hard it is to fill in those detailed forms, write all those exams, do those interviews, …”

Beta…” Spruti started, she was tired from a long day at work and Naina had dropped the news on her like a bomb. She didn’t have the energy to deal with it. “Let’s discuss this in the morning.”

“Discuss?” Naina mused.

“This is not something you can suddenly decide. I am your mother. Still.” Spruti pointed out.

Naina got up from her unfinished dinner and left the room.

One month later, Naina left for London.

Spruti kept waving goodbye to her daughter, frantically, from the visitors’ area. But her daughter did not turn back to look at her.

This is not fair.” Spruti cried as she left the airport.


About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".
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